2. Development Strategy Policies

2.1.

"Ensuring all Development is Sustainable"

A Vision for West Lancashire

The Vision for the Local Plan reflects strategic policy, public consultation on the Issues Paper, the Council's own vision and other key strategies. This involves a reduction in house building and a move towards a more sustainable pattern of development.

"Our Vision for West Lancashire in 2016 is that the District will be an attractive and affordable place to live containing sustainable communities where people have good access to quality jobs and services.This supports the Community Strategy Vision which is to make West Lancashire among the best, safest and greenest places to live in the Country, with local services that are second to none."

2.2.

Key Aims and Objectives

Flowing from this Vision the following key aims for the Local Plan have been identified:-

  • Meet the development needs of the District with an emphasis on regenerating those areas of the District that have been in decline;
  • Ensure that any new development arising is done so in a sustainable way with least impact on the District's unique environment;
  • Make the District accessible and well provided for in terms of facilities and services.
  • Recognise the importance of business development to the West Lancashire economy.
  • To protect and enhance the environment.
2.3.

In order to achieve these Aims we have identified the following objectives, which should underpin the Local Plan:-

  • Each area of the District should retain its own distinctive character through the protection of assets and good design of development.
  • The countryside should be protected from encroachment by resisting development in the Green Belt and on the other open land on the urban fringe.
  • Future development (such as housing, employment and community facilities) should be concentrated within the existing built up areas of Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, and Burscough.
  • Development should be attracted which creates more varied jobs for local people and existing jobs should be safeguarded.
  • The town centres of Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, and Burscough need to continue and expand their roles as the hubs of shopping, culture/leisure and service provision in our District.
  • In all other areas development is envisaged which consists of affordable housing for local people, the creation of community facilities, improved transport facilities, and small scale development which involves the provision of local services and/or creation of jobs.
  • Enhanced cultural, leisure and tourism related development should be located throughout the District provided that it adds to the local environmental quality.
  • There needs to be marked improvement to the visual quality of new development. Development should be designed to allow access for all and to reduce the risk and fear
    of crime.
  • People should be encouraged to use environmentally friendly modes of transport, through enhanced public transport, cycling and walking facilities.
  • The environment needs to be improved substantially in the following areas:-
    • Skelmersdale former New Town housing estates;
    • Burscough employment area;
    • Skelmersdale Town Centre;
    • Burscough Town Centre;
    • The Canal Corridor particularly in Burscough, Appley Bridge, Hesketh Bank & Tarleton;
    • The former rail corridor between Ormskirk and Skelmersdale.

POLICY DS1 - Location of Development View Map of this site ?

  1. The majority of new housing, employment and retail development, other than that required to meet purely local needs, will be expected to be located in the regeneration priority area of Skelmersdale. Preference will be given to development on sites which are on previously developed land and are easily accessible or can be made easily accessible to the town centres by public transport, cycling and pedestrian links. 
  2. Development will also be located in the market towns of Ormskirk /Aughton and Burscough. Wherever possible, development should be located on previously developed sites, and sites should be easily accessible or can be made easily accessible to the service centres by public transport, cycling and pedestrian links.
  3. Apart from proposals to replace existing houses on a one-for-one basis only small-scale development, preferably on previously developed sites, to meet an employment, community or social need and affordable housing to meet a local need, or accommodation to meet the specific needs of a section of the community, will be allowed within the following settlements:- Appley Bridge; Banks; Parbold;Tarleton and Hesketh Bank; Up Holland; Crawford; Halsall; Haskayne; Hilldale; Holt Green; Mere Brow; Mossy Lea Road ( Wrightington); Newburgh; Rufford; Scarisbrick/Bescar; Stanley Gate; Westhead;Tontine; Brown Edge/Pool Hey; Moss Road (Halsall); New Cut Lane (Halsall); Segars Lane (Halsall); and Blaguegate Lane/Firswood Road (Lathom)
  4. Development will not be permitted on open spaces which are of value for recreation, nature conservation, historic landscape importance, landscape quality, visual amenity, or community or outdoor leisure related use, unless it is part of a scheme which provides an overall benefit to the local community in social, environmental or economic terms.
  5. Pollution sensitive developments (housing, schools, hospitals etc.) shall not be located in close proximity to uses (including roads carrying high volumes of traffic) which could potentially cause pollution due to noise, hazard, emissions to atmosphere, smells, light spillage or other nuisance unless it can be shown that there would be no detrimental impact on the health or amenity of future occupiers, and that it would not harm the future operation of that potentially polluting use.
  6. Potentially polluting development (including roads carrying high volumes of traffic) will only be located where it can be shown that it will not have a detrimental impact on surrounding land uses or be likely to prejudice the use of adjacent land by virtue of noise, hazard, emissions to atmosphere, smells or nuisance from any other feature of the proposal.
2.4.

Justification of Policy DS1

This policy is aimed at delivering sustainable communities in accordance with the government's objectives set out in "Sustainable Communities - Delivering through Planning" (ODPM 2002). It directs all major development to the three main towns in West Lancashire which have the capacity to meet the future needs of the District. It also implements the regional and strategic objectives of the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West and the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan.

2.5.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West identifies Skelmersdale as being within the North West Metropolitan Area and as a Regeneration Priority Area where wide ranging regeneration and environmental enhancement should be secured. For the purposes of this policy the Regeneration Priority Area of Skelmersdale is defined as that area of Skelmersdale (not including Up Holland)  excluded from the Green Belt.

2.6.

The Replacement Joint Lancashire Structure Plan supports development in Skelmersdale to support its role as a key centre for public transport, employment and services and to support regeneration.

2.7.

The Replacement Joint Lancashire Structure Plan identifies Ormskirk (including Aughton) and Burscough as market towns where development should be allowed.The aim is to support and enhance their roles as service centres and public transport hubs for the surrounding villages.  Directing the majority of new development to the main towns will assist in developing the roles of the town centres and reduce the need for residents to travel long distances to reach local services. Accommodation to meet the specific needs of a community includes agricultural workers dwellings, or specialist provision for either the frail elderly, the disabled or people with a mental health problem, vulnerable young people (including children leaving care), or students (where the student accommodation involves shared living facilities).

2.8.

The policy does, however, allow development to meet local needs or support rural regeneration in the villages outside of Skelmersdale, Ormskirk (including Aughton) and Burscough in accordance with the Replacement Joint Lancashire Structure Plan. Accommodation to meet the specific needs of a community includes agricultural workers dwellings, or specialist provision for either the frail elderly,  the disabled or people with a mental health problem, vulnerable young people (including  children leaving care), or students (where the student accommodation involves shared living facilities). Such housing will only be taken to be ‘special needs’ housing where it is specifically designed and operated to house one of the groups described. For the avoidance of doubt, age restricted retirement homes and sheltered housing with a warden who offers assistance only intermittently, or in an emergency, would not constitute special needs housing.

2.9.

Development allowed by this policy should not destroy those features which are valued by the local community. Therefore, it should be directed to previously developed sites, rather than open spaces. In addition any development should avoid locating potentially polluting development in the vicinity of housing, schools and hospitals in line with the Council's objective of improving the health of local communities.

 

Map 2: West Lancashire Locations for Development

Background Documents for Policy DS1

Planning Policy Statement 1 Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future (ODPM 2003)National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy SD1 The North West Metropolitan Area
  • Policy SD2 Other Settlements in the North West Metropolitan Area 

Regional 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 1 General Policy
  • Policy 2 Main Development Locations
  • Policy 4 Development in Lancashire's Key Service Centres (Market Towns)
  • Policy 5 Development Outside Principal Urban Areas, Main Towns and Key Service Centres (Market Towns)

Sub Regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006 

Local 

POLICY DS2 - Protecting the Green Belt View Map of this site ?

Within the Green Belt, as shown on the Proposals Map:-

  1. Planning permission will not be given except in very special circumstances for the erection of new buildings for purposes other than:- 
    1. agriculture and forestry;
    2. essential facilities for outdoor sport or recreation, for cemeteries or for other uses of the land which preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with its purposes;
    3. the limited replacement, extension or alteration of a dwelling;
    4. very limited affordable housing for local needs if there are no sites available within areas excluded from the Green Belt.
  2. Planning permission will not be given except in very special circumstances for changes of use of land, engineering or other operations unless they would maintain the openness of the land and would not conflict with the purposes of including land in Green Belt.
  3. Replacement dwellings will only be allowed where:-
    1. the existing dwelling is of substantial construction, and specifically must not be a mobile home, caravan, or a temporary structure, and can be lawfully used for residential purposes;
    2. the size of the replacement is not materially larger than the original dwelling to the extent that the building would detract from the openness of the Green Belt; and
    3. it does not result in an increase in residential curtilage.
  4. Extensions or alterations to existing dwellings will only be allowed where:-
    1. the extensions do not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original dwelling to the extent that the building would detract from the openness of the Green Belt; and
    2. it does not result in an increase in residential curtilage.
  5. The reuse of buildings in the Green Belt, other than for residential use, will be permitted provided that:-
    1. the proposed development has no materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the present use;
    2. the form, bulk and general design of the building is in keeping with the surroundings and any conversion would retain or improve the character of the building,
    3. the building is of substantial construction and is capable of conversion without major reconstruction or extension, and,
    4. the building is not an ancillary building located within the curtilage of an existing dwelling, which was erected for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of that dwelling.
  6. The conversion of a rural building in the Green Belt for residential use will be considered where it meets a specific local need, or an identified local housing need in less remote locations, or where it can be demonstrated that the building is inherently unsuitable for any other use. Proposals for residential re-use should also meet the criteria set out in part 5 of this Policy.
  7. All of the above developments, if permitted, will be subject to strict design control to maintain the openness and the visual amenity of the Green Belt.
2.10.

Justification of Policy DS2

The Government is committed to the Green Belt and its objectives as signified by the advice contained in PPG2 "Green Belts", issued in January 1995.

2.11.

Land within the Green Belt is not necessarily of special value in itself but its protection from development is regarded as important in order to fulfil the five purposes of including land in the Green Belt, as set out in PPG2, namely:-

  • to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
  • to prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;
  • to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
  • to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
  • to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.
2.12.

The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West states that the Green Belt's contribution to urban regeneration will remain of prime importance for the foreseeable future. Green Belt policy for the West Lancashire area is established in the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan. Policy 6 of the Structure Plan confirms the general extent of the Green Belt in West Lancashire. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. Most types of built development, apart from those set out in the policy, are inappropriate in the Green Belt and will not be approved, except in very special circumstances. Essential facilities described in the policy should be genuinely required for uses of land, which preserve the openness of Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land in it. There will be very tight controls on the conversion of rural buildings in the Green Belt for residential use. The Council's preference is for employment or tourism uses. It would need to be demonstrated that the building would be unsuitable for any other use, before conversion to residential uses would be considered. The only exception to this, is where the change of use to residential would be in order to meet a specific local need (e.g. an agricultural worker) or for affordable housing where the building is not in a remote location. The Council has produced a SPG to explain this more fully. A building will not normally be considered capable of conversion under the terms of this policy if more than 20% of the elevation fabric (ie roof structure and facing walls) need to be replaced.

2.13.

Supplementary Planning Guidance has been produced by the District Council to explain ow it will interpret Policy DS2 in relation to the extension of residential properties in the Green Belt.

Background Documents for Policy DS2

Planning Policy Guidance Note 2 Green Belts
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy SD5 The Green Belts 

Regional 

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 6 Green Belts 

Sub regional 

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003-2006

  • West Lancashire Vision 

Local 

POLICY DS3 - Safeguarded Land View Map of this site ?

The land identified on the Proposals Map at:-

  1. Firswood Road, Lathom (approx 29ha)
  2. Whalleys Road, Skelmersdale (approx 9ha)
  3. Land at Liverpool Road South/Abbey Lane, Burscough (approx 2.8ha)
  4. Land at Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks (approx 2.1ha)

will be safeguarded for development needs which may be identified for the years beyond 2016. These sites will only be considered for development after this date if there are no longer any other suitable sites within the urban area to meet any identified development needs. Planning permission will not be granted for development which would prejudice their development in the future.

Educational and community facilities may be permitted on the land at Whalleys Road, Skelmersdale, during the Plan period, providing they are required to serve a local need which cannot be met within the existing settlement area, they are sympathetic to plans to develop the wider Whalleys area, and there would be no detrimental impact upon the plans to regenerate the Town Centre.

In relation to land at Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks, employment development for light industrial or office uses will be considered upon completion of the Greaves Hall Business Park, allocated in Policy DE5.

2.14.

Justification of Policy DS3

These areas of land lie on the edge of settlements which are surrounded by Green Belt. In order to ensure that the Green Belt boundary around these settlements remains unchanged at the end of the Plan period it is necessary to safeguard land for any development which may be needed beyond the year 2016. This will allow the Council to allocate any of these areas for development if a subsequent Local Plan review reveals a need for such allocations, and there are no suitable sites remaining within the existing settlement boundaries. This does not mean that all of the sites will come forward for development after 2016. Strong justification would be required to release any of them. In the meantime the Council will refuse permission for most types of development. However, changes of use of land or buildings and proposals for agricultural buildings may be acceptable provided that they would not prevent the future comprehensive development of the safeguarded land.

2.15.

The various areas covered by this policy are described in the following paragraphs:-

Firswood Road, Lathom: This is an area of land on the edge of Skelmersdale which is used mainly for agriculture. The Council recognises that the major part of the site comprises land of the best and most versatile agricultural quality and the land will therefore be protected from development before the end of the Plan period in 2016, and will be reserved to meet any development requirements which may be identified after that date.

Whalleys Road, Skelmersdale: Although previously allocated for housing there is no necessity to release these two areas of land for development at the present time. The sites are greenfield land which should only be developed if there are no suitable brownfield sites within Skelmersdale. Due to their location on the edge of Skelmersdale they should be reserved for development in the future.

Land at Liverpool Road South/Abbey Lane, Burscough: This site is part of a former clay pit which has been filled in with waste material. It was included in the area where the principle of residential development was allowed in the West Lancashire Local Plan which was adopted in 1999. However the site has not been developed. It lies on the southern edge of Burscough between a former landfill site and a waste recycling depot. There is no need for housing or employment development on this site during the current plan period.

Land at Greaves Hall Avenue, Banks: This site was formerly the site of a nurses' home set in large grounds. In the 1999 Local Plan the site was designated for institutional uses, such as a nursing home. It is likely that the site will be brought forward for employment uses once the  Greaves Hall Business Park is developed. Any future use would probably be required to retain alarge part of the site as open land.

Background Documents for Policy DS3

Planning Policy Guidance Note 2 Green Belts
National

West Lancashire's Community Strategy 2003 - 2006

  • West Lancashire Vision 

Local 

POLICY DS4 - Open Land on the Urban Fringe View Map of this site ?

On the open land outside the Green Belt (which is not safeguarded for future
development) and on the edge of settlements as identified on the Proposals Map,
development will not be permitted unless it retains or enhances the rural character
of the area. These areas of land will also be suitable for small scale, low intensity
tourism and leisure uses, and forestry and horticultural related uses.

Small scale affordable housing and employment or community facilities to meet
an identified local need will be permitted on these sites, provided that:-

  • it can be demonstrated that there are no suitable sites available within the built up area, and
  • if there are no such sites, that sustainable sites, allocated under this policy, closest to the village centre are considered first, followed, secondly, by sites which are further from the village centre where a problem of dereliction would be removed. Only after this search sequence has been satisfied should other sites be considered.
2.16.

This policy covers a range of sites on the fringe of settlements. It covers land which was previously excluded from the Green Belt but where development would undermine the strategic aims of Regional Planning Guidance for the North West and the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan. In essence it covers greenfield sites which are in locations where development would be less sustainable than the locations where the Local Plan allows development. It includes a number of sites which were previously safeguarded for future development which the Council considers will not be required even in the long term.

2.17.

Many of the settlements in the north of the District contain areas of open land which are neither built-up nor do they make a positive contribution to Green Belt objectives. The Council considers that whilst it would not be appropriate to provide the degree of protection afforded by Green Belt policies it is nevertheless important to protect these open areas from development other than that specified in the above policy. This is because development for residential or other purposes would result in the further outward expansion of the settlement, would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the settlement and would prejudice the successful implementation of strategic policies for the area. Small scale affordable housing, employment or community facilities development to meet a local need will be considered on these sites. Where proposals are brought forward they will need to demonstrate that there are no suitable sites available within the settlement area. Where this can be demonstrated developers will also need to show that there are no other sites allocated under this Policy which are more sustainable due to their location near to the village centre or where their development would clear dereliction (for example of former glasshouse units). Sites near to the village centre should be assessed for their availability and suitability first.

 

Background Documents for Policy DS4

Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas
National

Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West

  • Policy RU1 Sustainable Agriculture
  • Policy RU2 Diversification of the Rural Economy
Regional

Joint Lancashire Structure Plan

  • Policy 5 Development Outside of Principal Urban Areas, Main Towns and Key Service Centres (Market Towns)
Sub Regional

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Disclaimer: This adopted West Lancashire District Proposals Map forms the 'lower tier' of the two-tier Plan in Lancashire. The 'upper tier' comprises the Lancashire Structure Plan.